Crime novelist Michael Connelly, featured in this week's So Cal Connected, got his start as a police beat reporter for the LA Times.
Since switching from fact to fiction, he's sold millions of books (they've been translated into 35 languages) and won every major award for mystery writing.
Connelly is a uniquely talented storyteller.
But newspapers seem to breed fiction writers. In fact, the crime novel genre boasts a number of former "cop shop" reporters. Just to name a few:
Patricia Cornwell, author of the hugely popular Dr. Kay Scarpetta series, cut her teeth as a police beat reporter for The Charlotte Observers. Fans will know Scarpetta is a forensic pathologist. Cornwell drew on professional experience for that, as well. She worked for a time in the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia.
As an investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaason uncovered fraud in the construction and development industries. As a novelists, he's returned to those themes time and again, in more than a dozen best sellers.
Fusing comedy and crime, Tim Dorsey is another Floridian who came to fiction after toiling in fact. He worked as a police and courts reporter for The Alabama Journal, and later at the Tampa Tribune. Dorsey's latest novel, Gator A-Go-Go will be published early next year.
Must be something about that sultry Florida climate. Edna Buchanan is a best-selling crime writer who is, like Michael Connelly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. She won hers while working the crime beat for the Miami Herald, where she covered the burgeoning drug trade that was growing in the area.
Finally, though he really wrote about injustice, rather than crime, famed novelist Kurt Vonnegut did a stint as a police reporter for the Chicago New Bureau.